The announced that ILB Patrick Willis is retiring from the NFL.
“On behalf of the entire San Francisco 49ers organization, my family, and our Faithful fans, I would like to thank Patrick for everything he has brought to this team and our community,” said 49ers CEO Jed York. “Some of the greatest memories in the history of our franchise have come from his passion, dedication and sacrifice.
“Patrick epitomizes everything you could ever want in a San Francisco 49er. What he brought to this team goes much further than his athletic abilities. His leadership and infectious love for the game helped propel this team. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up around some of the greatest players in the history of this franchise, and Patrick has certainly secured his place among that elite group of men. As a member of our family, Patrick holds a special place in our hearts, and we look forward to supporting him as he moves on from his playing career.”
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported earlier in the day that the 49ers would be announcing some surprising news on Monday regarding a “key player.”
“Some very surprising news related to the 49ers is coming, likely later today, regarding a key player on the team who won’t be on the team in 2015,” Florio writes. “A formal announcement is expected on Tuesday.
“That’s all we can say for now,” Florio writes. “But when it happens, you’ll be shocked — even though you’re now duly braced to be shocked.”
San Francisco happens to be deep at inside linebacker with the emergence of Chris Borland last year, but losing Willis to retirement at the age of 30 would qualify as a real surprise.
Willis, 30, still has two years remaining on his seven-year, $53.51 million contract that included $29 million guaranteed. He would make base salaries of $7.065 million and $7.935 million over the final two years of the agreement.
Last year, Willis was limited to appearing in just six games due to a toe injury that led to him being placed on season-ending injured reserve.
He’s played eight seasons for the 49ers and recorded 732 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, five recoveries, eight interceptions and scored two defensive touchdowns.
We’ll have more regarding Willis as the news is available.